The statistics published by the UNAIDS/WHO depicted that during 2004 around 5,000,000 adults and children became infected with HIV and by the end of the year, an estimated 39,400,000 people worldwide were living with HIV/AIDS. The year also saw more than 3,000,000 deaths from AIDS, despite the availability of HIV antiretroviral therapy which reduced the number of deaths in high income countries. With these staggering statistics, VeeV Design‘s AIDS memorial was designed to “experientially jolt and reveal the impact of these massively incomprehensible quantities.”
More about the AIDS Memorial after the break.
“Our consciousness of the epidemic operates like an automaton; we have become numb to the knowledge and unable to comprehend the massive impact of this epidemic to human race. The unperceivable numbers of dead and infected, lest they become mere statistics, must be part of our collective consciousness and conscience,” explained the architects.
VeeV felt very strongly that the people who are infected with AIDS or who have died of AIDs should not disappear to become another statistic, but rather that somehow, the memorial would be able to make these “numbers” more human.
The design operates on three different levels: Pixel level at intimate scale (such as individual strand and variations, and individual bird / individual voice of counting), Topological level(such as the sounds of participants and footsteps and recognizable complex field of strands) and the Conscious level (namely intellectual, visceral and emotional).
The memorial is a field of strands made of red resin and phosphor emitting lights; the tops are dipped in sugar water which attracts hummingbirds. The strands offer an abstract encounter in which the strand may become both “individual and many within the same instance.” The strands are densely and orderly perforated into the surface of existing topography and when they intersect, vectors of turbulent flow are built up causing the disruption while the mind is awakened from the numbness giving weight to consciousness.
By walking through the memorial, the visitors’ ears are filled with different sounds, perhaps the fluttering of the wings of the hummingbirds, or the voices of hidden speakers count from 0 to 20,000,000 (at the average speed of 20-25 counts per minutes, it will take at least 2 years to count to 20,000,000). A web-cam component will record the visual and audio component, yet the overlay of the audio components from the site creates the intensity of incomprehensible white noise. Visitors of the web can then choose to turn on or off any of the three audios to distinguish and comprehend each sound component.
The memorial is a fully experiential space, making one’s senses heightened and all attention focused on the cause. As people walk around, one can make a donation to help support the research by buying a light strand.
View other VeeV Design projects previously featured on AD here.